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Travel Infos Turkey

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Turkey - Travel Infos



Climate

The climate in Turkey makes it a country of extremes.  It is a land of summer and winter at the same time.  In many parts of the country, all four seasons can be experienced.

Turkey’s South has dry and hot summers.  The high temperatures can exceed 35° C (95° F) here.  From May to October, the water temperatures here are comfortable for swimming.  Winters, on the other hand, are mild and rainy.  The months of high precipitation on the Turkish Riviera are November through February. 

The coastal region of the Aegean Sea is dominated by a Mediterranean climate, while inland the harsher continental climate reins.  Here, swimming season ranges from June to September.

The region around the Sea of Marmara offers more humid summers.  The best travel time for a beach vacation here are the months June, July, and August.  The cold winters of the region bring much frost and even snow. 

Precipitation must be expected anytime in the region of the Black Sea.  It is divided into three climate zones:  The East (Trabzon and Rize) has hot summers and mild winters and carries the most precipitation.  The central Black Sea region (Ordu) has less rain and a climate similar to the Mediterranean region.  In the West (Zonguldak and Sinop), the climate holds little precipitation and low humidity.  Swimming season here is from late June to mid August.

The summers of central Anatolia are milder than the Mediterranean ones; the winters are colder.  Spring and autumn are the rainy seasons. 

The continental climate of eastern Anatolia makes for long, snowy winters, with summer temperatures lower than those in the South.

Southern Anatolia offers a steppe climate with dry, hot summers that bring danger of drought each year.  Turkey is marked by almost all climate and geographic regions, which naturally brings a big diversity in its flora and fauna. 

Time Zones

The time difference is always forward one hour, since Turkey participates in daylight savings time.

Currency

The Turkish currency is the Lira (also:  Turkish Pound, TL, and TRL).  One Euro equals approximately 1,5 Million Turkish Lira.  The exchange rate fluctuates extremely, due to the high rate of inflation in Turkey.  For this reason, the former Deutsche Mark, now the Euro is a “secure” form of payment, primarily in tourist areas. 

You will however, need Turkish currency, particularly if eating out or shopping at the markets.

It is advisable to keep exchange receipts, since these may be checked anytime.  The price level in Turkey, compared to Germany is low; tourist areas have adapted their prices to the solvent visitors though. 

It is common practice to haggle prices in non-food stores and in markets.

In Islamic regions, it is common to give handouts in form of money to the poor, ill, and to beggars.  The poor population of the country however will be offended by “pittance” of the richer tourists.

Traffic

The speed limit on rural roads is 90 km/h, within city limits 50 km/h, and on highways 120 km/h. 

Those traveling far distances within Turkey may chose to travel by the Turkish State Rail system (TCDD) or by bus, which is the cheapest mode of travel.  On long trips, a break is offered every two to three hours near a restaurant for refreshments, which are often also served on the bus.

The bus stations (Otogar or Terminal) of the larger cities are usually located on the outskirts of town, but are reached easily by shuttle buses.  In mid-size or smaller cities the bus station is usually located downtown. 

Turkey also has numerous Ferries and Boats for hire, many of which are fitted with sleep cabins, who service the coast laying areas and towns.

If traveling by Taxi, be sure to negotiate a price before starting the journey.  Otherwise the taximeter price is to be paid (higher!!). 

The cheapest mode of travel is via the Dolmus, a small bus.  It is recognized by its yellow and black checkered siding.  It travels on a set route with regular stops.  As long as seats are available, anyone who gets the driver’s attention on the side of the road is taken along.

Security

Turkey is a popular travel destination which openly and warmly welcomes tourists.  Just like in any other vacation country, tourists should be aware of a few pointers. 

Terrorism: 

In the East and Southeast regions of Turkey recurrent armed conflicts between the PKK and Turkish security forces take place.

Traveling cross country/street traffic: 

Traveling by night, even on more populated roads, bares more danger and should be avoided if possible.  Overnight stays in cars should be avoided under all circumstances, and if absolutely necessary, should only be done when in guarded rest areas or on a camp ground.

If taking a Jeep-Tour, verify the travel company and the technical condition of the vehicle.  At best, get a local recommendation.  Obtain a written guarantee and have the company show you proof of operator qualification, which are capable of traveling on off road trails. 

Crime: 

Caution must be rendered if traveling in remote areas.  Additionally if taking a tour with strangers, caution is advised.

Never leave valuables, cell phones, or purses visible in a vehicle.

Like many other metropolitan areas, Turkish cities are home to pick-pockets, especially in Istanbul.

Primarily in the Istanbul district of Beyoglu, cases of fraud have become known, in which tourists are invited to an over-priced beverage in a bar and consequently were forced to withdraw a large sum of money from a teller machine to settle their “debt”.

Credit card fraud had become more frequent in Turkey.  Cheats commonly attempt to secretly copy the credit card and PIN code of travelers and withdraw money from those accounts.  Enter your PIN code in teller machines only under cover. 

The green, international insurance card is valid only in the European portion of Turkey.  If travel to the Asian part of Turkey is desired, liability insurance packages (30-90 days) are sold at the border.  Turkey has a zero promille rule for all operators of vehicles and motorcycles.

If the owner of the vehicle is not identical to the traveler, the operator of the vehicle must have a special power of attorney from the owner in their possession. Please settle all details prior to traveling to avoid long waits (several days!) at the border. 

Health

Currently, there have been cases of Congo Fever in Turkey.  This disease is primarily transmitted by ticks, however, handling infected animals and close contact to infected patients also raises risk of infection.

Vaccinations against Tetanus, Diphtheria, Polio, and Hepatitis A, if staying for longer periods also for Hepatitis B, should be taken.

By eating and drinking hygienically (only thoroughly cooked food, no warm or re-heated food) and by consequent protection from mosquitoes (repellant, fly nets, long sleeves and pants), most risk of infections and diarrhea may be avoided completely.   

The South East of the country has random cases of Malaria.

In Turkey, many plagiarized articles are sold.  It is especially aggravating for watches and perfume.  Most of the time, the watches don’t work very well or aren’t very durable, and the perfume smells completely different than it should, according to the brand name it holds.   


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